Mark Wood hopes he and fellow paceman Jofra Archer can “ruffle a few feathers” together as England prepare to field one of the quickest new ball pairings in their one-day history.
Wood will make his first competitive appearance in more than two months in Friday’s fourth one-day international against Pakistan in an effort to stake his claim for a World Cup spot, finally deemed ready for action after familiar concerns over his left ankle.
The 29-year-old has been kept on the shelf ever since a transformational tour of the West Indies, during which he hit fierce speeds touching 95mph.
Archer has arrived on the scene in the intervening weeks and has worked up his own head of steam, nudging 94mph during his first three caps, and the sight of the pair working in tandem is a tantalising one.
It will become a reality at Trent Bridge, with both men in an XI missing banned captain Eoin Morgan and rested trio Jonny Bairstow, Liam Plunkett and Chris Woakes.
“It’ll be good to have two pace lads in at the same time and to see if we can really ruffle a few feathers,” said Wood.
“For any team, two fast bowlers tends to be rare, so it will be good to play in the same team. It will be nice to bounce off him, see what plans he has. It will be nice to see how he works and hopefully watch him from fine-leg bowling rockets.
“He has natural raw pace whereas I feel I have to bust a gut to get it up there. It’s just so natural and that’s exciting for English cricket.
“He’s definitely he’s right up there among the best in the world for pace so it will be interesting to bowl alongside him. It will be interesting to see how far back the wicketkeeper stands for him and me!”
Wood appeared relaxed about his fitness, insisting his elongated lay-off owed more to caution from the management and inclement weather than a genuinely worrying injury.
He has taken to bowling double spells in the nets, 12 overs rather than his usual six, but is eager to test himself back in the middle.
“It’s been a long time and every time I’ve tried to get a match in it’s rained,” he said.
“It would’ve been nice to play for Durham (before England), and that was the plan to just get back in the swing of things. The cards have fallen a different way and that’s the way it is.
“Trevor Bayliss (head coach) said that he wanted me ready for the World Cup not for Durham, and there was no point in rushing it straightaway, which was a nice feeling actually. But you never take for granted playing for England so I’ll be giving it my best shot. I’m doing plenty of running, plenty in the gym, just general ticking over the body to make sure I’m ready to go.”
Jos Buttler will lead the team in Morgan’s absence, which came about as a result of overseeing slow over-rates, and Wood has warned the stand-in not to fall foul of the same regulation.
“The only difference is rather than the captain coming up to you from extra cover the wicketkeeper will be running all the way down the wicket and back, so we’ll have to watch that over-rate again,” he said.
“Obviously Eoin is a big loss because he’s our captain, our leader, but I’m sure Jos can do just as well.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
When it comes to ICC tournaments, there are only a handful of players who can have as much as an impact as Shikhar Dhawan.
No player has scored more runs in the last three ICC tournaments than Dhawan, who managed to garner 1113 runs across 18 innings.
The fact that two of those were held in England – the venue of the 2019 World Cup – makes a case for why the left-handed batsman can wreak havoc yet again.
Dhawan confirmed that he’s confident of yet another successful ICC tournament and the passion is unchanged from the last time he took to the crease.
“People tell me about my record in ICC events, but frankly speaking, the intent has always been the same. It’s not that the effort is less than 100 per cent ever,” Dhawan told Press Trust of India. “The focus as always is on the process. I am confident that I will have another good ICC tournament.
“Mera jazbaa aaj bhi utni hi hai [My passion is still the same as it was when I started]. I have shut out negativity, primarily because I am a happy-go-lucky person.
“Before I made my Test debut, I had played nearly nine years of first-class cricket. Had I not been passionate and hungry, I couldn’t have performed for India after nine years of domestic cricket. Now I have played six years of international cricket. It has been a great journey.”
The selection of the 33-year-old Karthik in the 15-member squad was sharply criticised by some former cricketers who felt the 21-year-old Pant should have been given a chance.
Since making his debut in 2018, Pant has impressed with his batting, including a maiden Test century in England.
He scored 488 runs from 16 matches in the just-finished Indian Premier League, while Karthik made 253 runs from 14 games.
Both players are vying for the reserve wicketkeeper slot behind former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
“In pressure situations, he (Karthik) has shown composure. It was something that everybody on board was convinced about. He has the experience,” Kohli told the Times of India newspaper.
“If, god forbid, something happens to MS (Dhoni), Karthik can be immensely valuable behind the wickets. As a finisher, he’s done well.
“So, it was the overall exposure to a tournament of this magnitude that was taken into primary consideration,” said Kohli.
After making his debut in 2004, Karthik has played 91 one-day internationals while Pant has five to his name.
Kohli, who will be leading India for the first time at the World Cup, said he was not bothered about the constant attention he gets as a batsman and captain.
“I don’t want to be the centre of everything. Nobody wants that. But when your intent is to make the team win, eventually you end up doing things which are always going to be seen,” said Kohli, the world’s number one Test and one-day player.
“I would always put my body on the line for the team.”
India are chasing their third World Cup after wins in 1983 and 2011.